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27 June 2013

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Our Top Ten Tracks

View and hear our Top Ten

Our Top Ten Albums

  1. English Wind Band Classics
  2. Vivaldi Concertos
  3. Bandstand Music
  4. American Wind Band Classics
  5. Lehar conducts Lehar
  6. Mendelssohn Elijah
  7. American Wind Band Classics II
  8. Britten Premieres
  9. Rudolf Serkin and the Busch Quartet play Schubert
  10. Dvořák Stabat Mater

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What's New for June

New from iTunes

Reveiws are by Brian Wilson at Music Web International
historic schubert amazon uk
american wind band classics volume 3
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music of england volume 2
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sargent conducts coleridge taylor
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music of england volume one
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vaughan williams sea symphony
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Coming soon at iTunes


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music of london
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New from Beulah Extra

Balakirev Islamey Philharmonia Goossens
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"Islamey is a colourful work, depicting the more exotic parts of the Russian Empire – as such it makes a good pairing with Borodin’s Steppes of Central Asia (below). The performance brings out the attractive qualities of the music and the recording sounds much more than acceptable; little allowance needs to be made for its age."

Borodin In the Steppes of Central Asia Georges Pretre
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"Trevor Harvey was by implication a bit sniffy about the programme though he enjoyed In the Steppes as a quiet interlude and, quite rightly, praised the quality of the performance and recording. Like Islamey (above) it’s colourful, though much more peaceful, so the two together make a very good mini-programme."

Brahms Symphony number 4  BPO furtwangler
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"I’m pleased that Beulah have decided to produce this recording of the Brahms Fourth Symphony – a high-quality performance to match my benchmark, Klemperer, shining through the less than ideal recorded sound. In a normal Download News this would be a clear Reissue of the Month"

Bruhns Prelude and Fugue No. 2 in E minor Hans Heintze
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"This recording appeared on DG Archiv APM14081 in 1958, coupled with two other works by Bruhns and four by Lübeck. Though we have had more recordings of organ and vocal music by the North German baroque masters since then, DS’s recommendation not to miss the recording holds good as much today as it did then"

Chopin Piano Concerto No 2  Stefan Askenase
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"Stefan Askenase and Támas Vásáry were the two Chopin stars in the DG firmament in the 1960s and the general consensus awarded the palm to Vásáry in the second piano concerto on the basis that Askenase captures the romantic side of the composer well but sells the heroic qualities a little short. I see the point; it’s a little dreamy but I like Chopin that way, so I enjoyed this well-transferred download."

dowland galliards julian bream
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"Bream’s playing is all that you could wish – still my benchmark in spite of several recommendable modern releases – and the recording has come up bright as new."

Handel Organ Music Thurston Dart
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"This is the A-side of the 7” ep from which the Purcell organ works (below) are also taken and it represents by far the better half of the programme. The organ – apart from a rather noisy action – the recorded sound and the performances are brighter than in the Purcell and the reissue is very worthwhile indeed. The cost is a mere £0.50; what’s not to recommend for such a small outlay? There’s some inevitable tape hiss but the recording is otherwise fine. "

Mendelssohn hebrides overture herbert von karajan
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"This is well worth investing in even if you have other recordings of the Overture, including Karajan’s own later DG version, with the Scottish Symphony. The swimming bath acoustic complained of in 1962 is hardly in evidence in this transfer and though the overall sound is not of the very clearest, even rather damped down for its vintage, the result is more than acceptable. The performance presents the music not as a piece of pretty early-romantic picture-painting but as a work of some stature, so your response will depend on how you expect to react to that. "

Mendelssohn hebrides overture furtwangler
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"An older recording than the Karajan and sounding so – if the latter sounds a little damped down at first hearing, for all that Beulah have done to improve matters it’s much more open by comparison with this 1944 version. Yet I hear the faëry sounds of Mendelssohn’s Midsummer Night’s Dream in this performance more than in Karajan’s recording, so the two make an interesting paired contrast. "

Mendelssohn hebrides overture heinz unger
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"If you have already read my take on Furtwängler’s Brahms (above), you may not be surprised to learn that this performance appealed from the start and that it’s one of my favourite performances of the work, despite the dated early-electric 78 recording. In fact, Beulah have tidied up the sound so well that there’s nary a vestige of surface noise when played at a reasonable volume over loudspeakers and it sounds little inferior, if at all, to the Unger recording of 1944. There are – or have been – reissues of later Furtwängler recordings of this overture, perhaps better recorded, but this is well worth your while. In 1932 the 78 recording cost 5/- (£0.25, at least £20 in today’s values); now it can be yours for just £0.50/$0.76. How’s that for value? "

Mozart Piano Concerto No 6 K283 Geza Anda
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Mozart Piano Concerto No 22 K482 Geza Anda
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"I got to know many of the Mozart piano concertos from Géza Anda’s DG recordings and I still hold them in high regard. These two recordings appeared together on SLPM 138824 in 1962, when I’m surprised to see that Jeremy Noble was somewhat disappointed. There are more powerful recordings of K482 but Anda’s is by no means of the Meissen figurine variety and I’m more of the mind of Robert Layton, who recommended the reissue of this concerto The Beulah transfers are very good – little short of the quality of Linn’s more expensive Studio Master reissue "

Mozart Piano Concerto No 14 K449  Walter Klien
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"The sound on the original Vox LPs was variable to say the least and Beulah deserve real credit for tidying this up ... I enjoyed Klien’s light touch on Beulah enough to be sure that I shall be listening to this alongside Brendel and more recent competitors. The Vienna Pro Musica were never that city’s greatest but they play well enough here. At 7:12 the second movement is a tad slow, but that didn’t worry me. "

Purcell Organ Music Thurston Dart
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Purcell Suite in G Minor Z. 661 George Malcolm
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Purcell 12 lessons from Musicks Handmaid George Malcolm
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"George Malcolm’s harpsichord was a monster by today’s more authentic standards, with 16-foot tone aplenty, but his importance as a pioneer of early music, alongside Thurston Dart, whom Beulah have also done proud, cannot be overstated. With very few exceptions, everyone played large-scale beasts in those days and Malcolm does so with much more restraint than most of his contemporaries whose recordings now remain like the stuffed dodos in museums. So, although these wouldn’t be my first choice – certainly not my only choice – these recordings are well worth having. "

Purcell The Fatal Hour comes on apace Z.421 Joan Alexander
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Purcell What, What Shall Be Done? Z.340 Deller Lewis Walker
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"When The fatal hour comes on apace was reviewed in 1954, Joan Alexander’s contribution was not mentioned but the harpsichord continuo was praised. Both this and the Alfred Deller performance of parts of two Welcome Odes are taken from HMV History of Music in Sound recordings, issued in albums of 78s well into the LP era. With modern recordings of both, these might seem like mere historical curiosities, especially as that 1954 review also omitted to mention Deller’s part – surely counter-tenors were not that common then? – praising instead Bernard’s light, dancing rhythm, Walker’s singing and the accompanying recorders (and justly so). Historical the Beulah reissues may be, but the Deller recording in particular is of far more than curiosity value and both recordings have brushed up very nicely indeed."

Tchaikvosky Manfred Symphony  LSO Goossens
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"I’ve always thought the Manfred Symphony under-rated by comparison with the regular numbered symphonies. It was certainly something of a rarity when Eugene Goossens recorded it for Everest in 1959, which is presumably why, unfortunately, it had to be presented in a severely cut form. The extent of the cut can be seen by comparing the time with the Mariss Jansons (53:43, see below) and Vasily Petrenko recordings (57:46, see below). Yet, for all that, Goossens brings out the music’s drama. I enjoyed hearing this recording – only briefly available in the UK on Everest CD – especially as the transfer has been well made"

Critical Comment

Praise from Kings
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"Several very valuable classic recordings are here gathered together... The recordings of Bach and the earlier composers here are musical fossils – they don’t sing the music like that anymore – but fossils can be fascinating and these are very good exemplars of their kind. For all the progress that has been made in the performance of the music of the pre-classical period, I can still listen to King’s under Willcocks’ direction in this repertoire with pleasure... Beulah coupling is unique on a single album and the transfer is good – comparable in quality with my CD of the Haydn. In the Gibbons the top line sounds just a fraction glassy but nowhere near as fragile as King’s recordings used to sound on LP." Reissue of the Month by Brian Wilson at Music Web International

contrasts in winds
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"The opening Aria della battaglia starts surprisingly softly – could this be a rare dud from these performers? – but when the music becomes dramatic they certainly deliver the goods with interest. The other items, by the younger Gabrieli, also justify the description of the original LP as in every way worthy of the music. These performances have hardly dated and the recorded sound is full... I’m amazed at how well these recordings sound more than half a century on." Brian Wilson at Music Web International

Visions of Elgar download offer

visions of elgar

14PD15 Visions of Elgar
A 4 disc set can now be downloaded for £7.99
itunes
The four disc set contains:

  • Sir Adrian Boult conducting
    In the South Overture [Listen]
    Symphony No 2 [Listen]
    one sound Violin Concerto with Alfredo Campoli [Listen]
  • Anthony Collins conducting
    one sound Falstaff [Listen]
    one sound Introduction and Allegro for Strings [Listen]
  • Eduard van Beinum conducting
    one sound Cockaigne Overture [Listen]
    one sound Cello Concerto with Anthony Pini [Listen]
  • Sir Malcolm Sargent conducting
    Dream of Gerontius (extracts) with Richard Lewis and Marjorie Thomas [Listen]
    The Kingdom (extract) with Isobel Bailie [Listen]
    I Sing The Birth with the Royal Choral Society [Listen]
    one sound Imperial March [Listen]
    one sound Pomp and Circumstance Marches Nos 1 and 4 [Listen]
    one sound Variations on an Original Theme (Enigma) [Listen]
  • Plus Elgar's vision of:
    Handel - Overtrue in D minor [Listen]
    Bach - Fantasia and Fugue in C minor BWV 537 [Listen]
    Conducted by Albert Coates

Jonathan Swain on CD Review BBC Radio Three 10 November 2007 said:

  • Of Richard Lewis singing Gerontius: "Plenty of fire in this singing, fire and fear".
  • Of Sir Adrian Boult conducting In The South: " The overture pretty much unknown when this performance happened in 1944, you'd never guess though from the playing here"..."the faster sections of the performance by the way were the leaping vitality an older Sir Adrian couldn't or did not want to muster."
  • On Anthony Collins conducting Falstaff: "A great many details here tell of Collins the film composer. They can be very subtle though never unsubtle. The art is knowing how far to go."..."everything superbly animated. It leaps out at you."
  • On Van Beinum conducting Cockaigne Overture;" What a revelation the performance still is."..." Everything here precisely articulated and has a wonderful lift to it." ..."Breezing through it." ..."It sounds live but it wasn't".
  • On the Violin Concerto: "I couldn't possibly be without the Violin Concerto with Alfredo Campoli."..."To hear Campoli in this Elgar concerto alone is to sit in on a violin master class as comprehensive as it gets. The tone is sweet, the technique flawless, the imagination boundless. "..."A lucky concerto on disc but never I think graced with violin playing like that. Its con amori always bel canto, effortless, as light as air and unfailingly musical, in a word unique."
  • "A very collectable four cd set"

Robert Matthew Walker writes in an Elgar Sesquicentenary Re-issues Round Up published in International Record Collector November 2007:

The first disc is all Sargent and is a stunning reminder of just how fine a conductor he was in this repertoire. It may seem odd initially to pick out his LSO recordings of the first and fourth Pomp and Circumstance and the Imperial Marches, but I was brought up short by his spellbinding, indeed magisterial account of No.1. Here Sargent's tempos are immensely broad and entirely without the hectic 'Last Night of the Proms' hysteria... and (he) follows this with a very good Enigma. Sargent obtains fine playing. The Decca mono recordings are staggeringly good and have been superbly transferred. The all- Boult conducted CD contains his first HMV - 1944- recording of the Second Symphony...this is the best interpretation of the eventual five he made. There is an intensity here from the latter half of the first movement through to the end of the work which is utterly gripping - the slow movement is so intensely moving...there is an almost indefinable element of intense conviction which no other recording, including Elgar's, has. Boult also conducts the first Decca recording of the Violin Concerto...so admirable in many ways, to which Campoli brings warmth and genuinely expressive rubarto as well as a comprehensive technique. This is followed by Decca's earlier recording of the Cello Concerto with Anthony Pini. It remains a very fine reading. Finally two rare and important historic recordings, both Elgar transcriptions of eighteenth-century music with the LSO conducted by Albert Coates. Considering the age of the originals the transfers are remarkably vivid and make an admirable appendix to the genuine music by Elgar in the rest of the set. This is a set of considerable musical substance and one that I urge upon all serious Elgarians. I cannot urge it upon you strongly enough.

" The list of performers in itself guarantees a high standard of performance. " John Steane in Gramophone February 2008

Visions of Elgar is still available as a boxed set, four discs for the price of three. £34.35 but it can also be downloaded from iTunes for only £7.99!
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